go to Martha How's page
Daniel couldn't write, but his mark appears in his will and again in his codicil. The name "Bartlett" was also spelled "Bartlet" in documents written by others. Daniel's sons and grandsons tended to be inconsistent about the spelling, even within the signatures of one person. This wasn't generally uncommon in the 17th and 18th centuries and included spelling in letters and other documents. Also, the ability to sign one's name didn't necessarily mean a person was literate in general. Formal education wasn't common, so the general populace wouldn't know if all words were spelled correctly, not to mention personal names, which had variants to begin with. In the region around Marlborough, "Bartlet" was favored in municipal documents and in signatures before roughly 1800.
Daniel grew up in Marlborough, Massachusetts, but no description has been found of the land his father owned there, leaving it a mystery where they were in town. The family was assigned to the Nathan Brigham garrison in 1711, which was supposedly on or near what is now Newton Street.(1) If this is correct and the Bartletts lived nearby, it was near the center of the village. The earliest evidence of Daniel buying property is in 1713.(1.1)
It was on the "south slope" of Crane Hill (which would place it near the present Cedar Hill Street in Marlborough, the hill now occupied by a school) and adjacent to land owned by Nathan Brigham, who had the mentioned garrison house but likely did not live near Crane Hill, which is in the far western part of town. Daniel bought his homestead land, described as such in his will, in 1724, which was a parcel that straddled the border of Westborough and Marlborough and was close to the Crane Hill parcel.(2) That part of Westborough became Northborough. There were numerous Native American raids through this area in the early 18th century. Daniel is said to have been a target while standing by an "attic" window in his house.(3)
conjectured view of Daniel's house, which is still standing with modifications on Main Street in Northborough. It was probably built about 1725.
Daniel bought land elsewhere in Westborough in in several neighboring towns. One piece, adjacent to his homestead, was bought from Jonathan Goodenow and included the Goodenow garrison house. It was on this tract that his son Jotham built his house.
Several records show that Daniel was an ensign in the local militia.(4) He had one of the house lots in land grants to soldiers in King Philip's War, but details on his service haven't been found. His lot was in Narraganset Township Number 6, later incorporated as Templeton, Massachusetts. When the north precinct of Westborough (now Northborough) built a meeting house, accounts of "labour in cutting timber and allso in carting allso in framing & finishing" presented at a town meeting on 10 November 1746 included Daniel being owed 2 pounds, 14 shillings and 3 pence.(5)
Daniel made his will on 2 October 1758.(6) Son Jonas was to have his father's homestead, divided between him and his mother, and his mother's part after she died. He was not to have the back of the house after his father died, perhaps indicating that his mother would have that part. Jonas also was given 5 acres in Stirrup Meadow, which was near the homestead land (Stirrup Brook ran through the latter) and all of his father's personal estate aside from his mother's portion. Daniel wrote a codicil to the will on 28 April 1761. His daughter Mary had been taking care of him due to his "declining languishing state," and he wanted to compensate her, anticipating that the situation might continue. Jonas was to pay her 26 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence.
Daniel's burial place hasn't been found. As executor of his father's estate, Jonas asked the court for allowance to pay for gravestones from Daniel's estate (no answer is recorded). He may have been buried on the family property, but more likely it was in an apparently unmarked grave in the town's earliest burial yard, the Brigham Street Cemetery. An inventory of the cemetery is being planned and may reveal stones that are now below ground. An unidentified source on the history of Marlborough says that "Ensign Daniel Bartlett died in the west part of Marlborough, age 73 years. His 12 children distributed at his funeral 19 pairs of black gloves, 18 pairs of white gloves, 12 black gauze handkerchiefs and other articles, all costing 75 pounds and 7 shillings." Gloves are mentioned in a probate account, but that monetary figure is a gross exaggeration. The account, included below, gives a much more reasonable figure of 17 pounds, 5 shillings and 8 pence.
From the estate file of Daniel Bartlett:
In the name of God amen the second day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty eight, I Daniel Bartlett of Marlborough in the County of Middlesex in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Gent., being sick and weak of body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given to God therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say, principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul unto the hands of God that gave it and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian manner at the discretion of my executors nothing knowing but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God. And as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hat pleased God to bless my in this life I give, demise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.
Imprimis. I will that my just debts which I may gave at my decease be well and truely paid out of my estate by my son Jonas and also all my funeral charges having appointed him one of the executors of this my last will and testament.
Item. I will and give to my beloved wife Martha one third part of all my personal estate for ever and the improvement of the one half part of my homestead where I now dwell during her remaining my widow but if she should marry again then I give her the improvement of but one third part only of my homestead
Item. I will and give to my beloved son Jotham Bartlet and his heirs forever one acre in the easterly part of my cedar swamp in Westboro in the County of Worcester which with what I have already given him by deed and otherwise is to be his full portion of my estate.
Item. I give and bequeath to my second son Daniel Bartlet and his heirs forever that part of my estate which he is now in possession of lying and being in Rutland a deed of which I have already given him and which I hereby confirm, said land lands and buildings formerly belonged to Israel Davis and this with five shillings more to be paid him is to be his full part and portion of my estate.
Item, I will and give to my third son Joseph Bartlet six acres of land in Rutland being part of twenty six acres adjoining to land in his possession, the six acres that lies most convenient to his land [or to lay to it?], the paying to his brother Jonas sixteen pounds old tenor which I lately lent him and the six acres above with what I have already given him by deed is to be his full part and portion of my estate
Item, I will and bequeath to my fourth son John Bartlet and his heirs forever all my part and right in one half of a lot of land in Rutland East [?] and also forty pounds lawful money to be paid him by my son Jonas and one half in three years next after decease of my wife and the other half in one year after that and this is his full portion.
Item. As to my fifth son Jonathan Bartlet I give five shillings which with what I have already given him is to be his full part and portion of my estate.
Item I will and bequeath to my sixth son Isaac Bartlett and to his heirs forever one original house lot of land in Narraganset Township number six being lot no. one hundred and ten with all the rights and after divisions belonging thereunto. Also twenty acres of land in Rutland being part of the twenty six acres, six of which I have given to my son Joseph. Also forty pounds lawful money to be paid him by my son Jonas, one half in three years next after the decease of my wife and the other half in one year next after that.
Item. I will and give to my seventh son Jonas Bartlet and to his heirs forever all my homestead where I now dwell lying partly in Marlborough and partly in Westboro the one half to be to him after my decease except the back part of my dwelling house and the other half after the decease of my wife also about five acres of meadow and upland called Stirrup Meadow which I purchased of Andrew Rice also all my personal estate of all sorts except what is above given to my wife Martha, to enable him to pay what is herein ordered to my other children the several legacies mentioned with their names and this his full portion.
Item. I will and bequeath to my beloved daughter Sarah thirteen pounds, six shillings and eight pence lawful money to be paid her [?] half one half in three years next after the decease of my wife the other half in one year next after that this to be her full portion of my estate having given her as much before as to make her portion equal with the rest.
Item. I will and bequeath to my beloved daughters, to Abigail thirty pounds having had
some part of her portion before hands, to my daughters Mary & Mercy to each of them or their heirs forty pounds lawful money to each a good feather bed and bedding and the improvement of all the back part of my dwelling house during the single life of both or either of them and the privilege of passing and repassing thro the east rooms and the front door, the forty pounds to each to be paid by my son Jonas one half in one year next after the decease of my wife or if either of them should marry before [?] of the money & the other half in two years next after my said wife's decease and this to be their portion.
Furthermore I hereby constitute & ordain my son Jonas Bartlet and David Felton of Marlborough sole executors of this my last will and testament and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments with legacies & bequests & executions by me in any way before named willed and bequeathed, ratifying & confirming this and not other to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have here ascribed my name and seal the day and year above written.
Daniel his x mark Bartlet
To all whom these presents may concern, be it known unto you that I the subscriber for good reasons have thought fit to add the following codicil or schedule to my last will and testament. Namely that in consideration of my circumstance, having been much altered since making my will on account of the impair of my health thoh. my reason & memory are throh. the goodness of God in good measure continued to me, and as my daughter Mary has been my only helper and [?] supporter in my declining languishing state and may continue to be for some time to come it is therefore my will that my two sons John and Isaac pay to my said daughter Mary the sum of twenty six pounds thirteen shillings and four pence in equal proportion or one hundred pounds each in old tenor, one half the sd sum to her paid at my decease the other when they shall receive their portion of money as beforesd and this I declare as part of my will in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty eighth day of April Anno Dom 1761.
To the Honourable Samuel Danforth Esq. Judge of the Probate of Wills in the County of Middlesex
Jonas Bartlet executor of the will &c of Daniel Bartlet late of Marlborough in said County Gentn. deceased testate said will &c was exhibited into the said Probate Office June 4th AD 1764 and administration was then committed to said Jonas Bartlet who gave bond for his faithful perfomance thereof, and the said Jonas Bartlet executor as aforesead prays allowance as follows -
viz to a coffin 6/ a grave 3/4 - [0 lbs] 9 [shillings]-4 [pence]
to cash paid Mr. Henry Barnes for gloves & mourning 17-5-8
to a journey to Petersham (40 miles) to notify the other executor - 12 -
to summoning the witnesses to prove the will - 2 -
to cash paid the judge for proving the will 6/ clerk 14/8 witnesses 20/ 2-1-8
to a journey to Cambridge to present the said will 12/ - 12 -
to a journey to Concord to present an agreement of the deceased widow - 8 -
to the judge for the allowance of said agreement 7d ½ to the clerk 1/2 ½ - 1-12
to Mary Bartlet for looking after the deceased 13-6-8
March 28 1769 to a journey to Cambridge being cited by Mr. H. Maynard the guardian to the deceased's widow - 12 -
to 2 witnesses same time viz Mr. Daniel Harrington & A. Woods - 18 -
to 4 days attendance of myself on Mr. H. Maynard guardian to the deceased's widow in taking an inventory [and?] 2 witnesses - 9-6
October 14 1767 to a journey to Cambridge, being cited by sd guardian - 12 -
to 3 witnesses same time viz Thomas Goodenow, William Badcock both of Northboro and Capt. Jesse Rice of Marlboro 1-11-6
and Mr. Joshua Bigelow for like service - 18 -
November 11 1767 to journey to Cambridge being cited by sd. guardian - 12 -
to 3 witnesses same time viz Capt. Jesse Rice, Mssers Daniel Harrington & George Oak 1-10-6
and Mr. Joshua Biglo for like service - 18 -
and to Mr. Sewell attorney - 12 -
June 20 1769 to a journey to Cambridge to exhibit this acct
to two witnesses the same time viz Mr. Daniel Harrington and Alpheus Woods - 18 -
[?] to the judge & clerk
and the sd. Jonas Bartlet prays that he may be allowed to get gravestones
Jonas became sole executor of the estate when David Felton declined the appointment, citing his impractical distance from his home in Petersham, Massachusetts, to Cambridge. He calls Daniel his "honored uncle," as David married the niece of Daniel's wife Martha How.(7)
children of Daniel and Martha (How) Bartlett:(8)
i. Jotham b. 5 April 1717
ii. Sarah b. 30 June 1718
iii. Daniel b. 28 September 1719
iv. Joseph b. 24 November 1720
v. Abigail b. 30 October 1721
vi. Abraham b. 21 September 1722, d. 11 February 1722/1723
vii. John b. 25 November 1724
viii. Jonathan b. 26 January 1725/1726
ix. Isaac b. 6 March 1726/1727
x. Abner b. 12 March 1727/1728, d. by 2 October 1758
xi. Mary b. 12 March 1727/1728
xii. Jonas b. 31 March 1729
xiii. Mercy b. 31 May 1730
vital records sources: Daniel's birth, marriage and death dates come from Marlborough vital records.
1. Ella A. Bigelow, Historical Reminiscences of the Early Times in Marlborough, Massachusetts (Marlborough, MA:1910), p. 235.
1.1. 5 June 1713, Middlesex County, MA, deeds, vol. 22, pg. 649. Peter and Abigail Bent to Daniel Bartlett, yoeman, 48 acres, 110 rods "for a valuable sum of money."
2. 23 July 1724, ibid, vol. 24, pg. 459. David and Dinah Goodenow to Daniel Bartlett, husbandman, part of David's inheritance from his grandfather Samuel Goodenow by will dated 16 November 1716. David soon after moved to Shrewsbury.
3.Harriette Merifield Forbes, The Hundredth Town (Boston:1889), p. 39.
4. Josiah C. King, Northborough History (Newton, MA:1921).
6. Middlesex County Surrogates Court file #1338.
7. Ibid, 30 May 1764.
8. Marlborough vital records.
all text and photographs © 1998-2009 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted